Chain Chronicle Review
Breaking the Japan exclusive bindings
In the world of free to play mobile games, there is definitely a repetitive system that is getting to the point of being overused. You know, the Pokemon style rock, paper, scissor elemental characters with some sort of stamina-timer bar system to govern how often you can play. For newer mobile games to stand out and not be complete clones, they need to do something different – something that has yet to be done in this genre. This is where Gumi and SEGA’s new (to America) iOS game shines.
Chain Chronicle is best described as a free to play, line defense, real-time, RPG. Free to play means we’re talking microtransactions. While the game isn’t competitive, paying really only gains you the currency (Prysma) to get new rare and above units. This allows your pulls to happen faster but doesn’t offer the player anything they can’t get from just playing without paying. Through the Fortune Ring currency, you can buy Stamina Fruit which will fill up your AP (time/stamina system) to allow you to play more often.
The ‘line defense’ portion of the game comes from the battles. You take four units into combat, one friend, and two reserves. The first two units of yours that fall in combat will be replaced with the two sub-units you have in your party. The five fielded troop start in a 3x3 grid and can be moved outside the grid if you choose to take a more aggressive stance versus your enemies. If all your troops die or if an enemy makes it past your back row, you lose. This ‘tower defense’ type of gameplay adds a management system on top of the ‘must kill everything’ system.
Lastly we got the role playing element. Sure you have your main character but what about the numerous other characters you pick up along the way. These characters can be tossed into strategic parties, leveled, and upgraded through the course of your gameplay. Management off the battlefield is just as important as strategy on it. Who do you level? Who can you fit in your party? Who’s weapon do I enhance? Whose weapon do I upgrade? These are all real questions and decisions you’ll be making in no time. Chain Chronicle also allows you to have multiple parties for quick swaps if you have a heads up on the sort of opponents you’ll be facing.
The actual combat has a real-time element to it. You have full control over your five units. You can set who attacks who, where your troops go, where your cleric should be healing from, when you use a special of a unit, etc. The game allows for a quicker speed to move fights along if you so choose. You can even ‘auto-battle’ if you’re overly confident of your units or if your foes are jokingly beneath your mighty prowess. Characters are broken into the category types of soldier, knight, cleric, archer, and mage. These classes are even broken down into quasi-subclasses.
With the option to auto battles at x2 speed, you can fly through your available AP if you so choose. This comes as a boon or curse depending what you want out of Chain Chronicle. The ability to spend AP so quickly is sad if you’re actually looking to get the maximum time out of what’s available for the game. On the opposite end of that, if you’re looking to dump your full AP bar right before you sleep, you can do so in a matter of minutes. The veteran mobile game players are really going to dig this feature since ridding yourself of your precious AP can be rapidly and efficiently done if the opportunity becomes necessary. For those who want to do every aspect of the combat, nothing is forcing you to auto or speed it up.
Chain Chronicle’s story is actually pretty interesting. Since you have a set, unchangeable, main character – you have a linear story which you can follow. Sure the antagonist army, the Black Army, isn’t the most original concept – but the interactions between your hero and other characters are pleasing. These conversations certainly can be long-winded at times though. For those players tired of a specific arc or couldn’t care less about the story whatsoever, it’s all 100% skippable with the mere tap of a button. This option is great for both types of players. In the story, you’re often given choices of two responses but they end result seems to always be the same. The option is still nice.
Every single of the many characters in the game have side quests you can do for them that will unlock more story, Prysma, or a new skill for that character. The more rare the unit, the more story missions you’ll have. Just having that unit will give a story quest somewhere in the world. Once you complete that story and level the character to specific level, another quest will appear. The level requirement and location can be seen on the character card even if you don’t meet the requirements yet. This allows you to plan out who you level and if the juice is even worth the squeeze.
The art style is comes from various artists all doing their rendition of anime type characters. This means the full gambit of color when it comes to hair colors and umm – amble body proportions on certain characters. While I’m unfazed by this art direction, I mention it because I know some people absolutely lose their s@#$ over it. Chain Chronicle definitely hints towards adult/sexual themes; from characters wearing scantily clad garb to archers learning new techniques due to the size of their breasts. These are real things which happen in specific side stories.
If you’re treating Chain Chronicle like a mobile game, I see very few issues in its total presentation. Due to the fact that it has a time/stamina resource, it’s not a game you’ll just be able to sit down and play forever. You can, however, still control the minimum amount of time you put into the game – which will be great for the long-haul and longevity of the game. There are many systems and tactics for making this game stand out from the rest which players will find both addictive and engaging. Since it is a free to play title, if you’re on the fence about it just download it and give it a whirl. Good luck getting a 5 star unit!
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